Mothering Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After the 5 millionth fight this week with DH yesterday, I realized that a huge part of it is me (well duh, you say, but read on)...I used to clam up when I got angry, giving myself time to reflect on what was going on before saying something stupid - I have one hell of a mouth - and time to calm down so I can talk calmy and not yell - which I also am infamous for.<br><br>
DH sees my shutting down as punishment - the silent treatment. If I get quiet, he begs me not to shut him out (he's very emotionally needy and knows it), so instead of being able to regroup, I get MORE angry (big anger problems here) and then it gets nasty and I can't fight fair. I just can't. Feelings that I only have for a fleeting moment - like wanting to bash him on the head with a frying pan, come out big as life, instead of just being allowed to be in my head then going away.<br><br>
Yeah, I know, I'm <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:<br><br>
So I realized yesterday that I need to do this "silent treatment" if we are to survive. I need more time in my head. I told DH this and he gave all the lip service "that makes sense" "you should definitely do that" etc, but when it comes time to for me get quiet during a fight, he's going to freak out thinking I'm punishing him. I'm <i>not</i>, I swear, but I <i>need</i> that quiet dialog in my head and don't know how to get him to understand that when we're fighting and it's time for me to back off.<br><br>
I can see him being frustrated that we're in the middle of a fight, it's unresolved and I seem to just be "dropping it", but I want to come back to our problem, just calmer and not so... ready to throttle him.<br><br>
How do I make him understand, in the heat of the moment, to let me be?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,945 Posts
Just tell him. In my house, we "shelve it", which means it goes over there on the shelf, and we'll deal with it later. We also try to say when we'll deal with it, expecially if it's time sensitive... an hour from now? A month from now? So we might be getting into it and I may need to say, "Let's shelve this 'till tonight; I can't deal with this right now." When we have cooled down and we're ready to discuss it again, we "table it" and bring it back out onto the table for a fair discussion.<br><br>
You can use whatever works for you: ask for a time-out, a brain break, whatever you agree on so that he knows you're stepping back but not walking away.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,484 Posts
I think the important thing, from your DH's perspective - which is where I'm at with mine - is that you express that you need some time and specify when that is right then. Then be sure that you bring it back up, calmly. My DH does shut down, does not express that he needs to think about it, I keep talking, which makes him shut down more and in the end it's horrible and I never hear his side of the story. Very frustrating.<br><br>
Just be clear and make sure it is actually addressed later on. And if that's hard, just keep practicing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
796 Posts
I'm like your DH and can't handle when my DH needs time. I'm nutty,<br>
I know. It helps me sooo much if DH gives me a time limit. If he says, "I'm too angry to talk right now. Leave me alone for 20 minutes and then we'll talk" I can deal with it. I don't like it, but knowing a definite end point makes it bareable for me.<br><br>
I will say, that I really can't handle any longer than about 30 minutes. If he says he'll talk to me in an hour, it's too much for me.<br><br>
It also helps if DH hugs me and tells me he loves me and that we will work things out. (Edit: To clarify, I don't mean he then stays with me, it just helps if I have that little be of reassurance before he goes to be alone. If I have that, I can wait longer.)<br><br>
I know that my behavior and feeling of panic isn't rational, but I can't seem to control myself when he shuts me out, even if on an intellectual level I know he just needs some time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,853 Posts
When I'm becoming irrational, I ask my DH for a timeout. I try to be very specific so he understands why I'm asking for a break. "I'm verging on being irrational. I don't want to make this situation worse. I need 30-60 minutes to go veg out to a stupid sitcom". That gives me a chance for my brain to shift and get out of the loop I'm caught in. Generally afterwards I can have a very quiet and logical discussion and get right to the heart of the issue under debate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
865 Posts
I'm just like you. I need some time to calm down and think things over. My mom was the same way, and I used to think she was so immature for giving me the silent treatment. Finally one day I asked her about it, and she said, "Because I don't want to say anything I'll regret." I now think of my mom as one of he wisest people I've ever known.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
11,594 Posts
actually, i would bring it up.<br><br>
my husband comes from a family where all silence means that you're angry or upset with someone. i'm naturally a quiet person. so for him, early on, just me being quiet was an indication that he was "in trouble."<br><br>
so, i started asserting when he would start to get upset because i was being quiet that i was not upset with him, i was just being quiet.<br><br>
if, during a fight, you need to take a "time out to think about things" then simply tell him so. simply say "i need to take a bit of time now to be quiet and reflect on things. this is not "silent treatment" but an opportunity for me to get my bearings so that we can communicate more effectively."<br><br>
and just keep repeating it. he'll eventually 'get it.'
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,445 Posts
I was also going to suggest a time limit. How long does it usually take for you to calm down?<br><br>
I would also make sure that AFTER you've calmed down that YOU are the one to go to him and bring it back up again.<br><br>
Would he understand it from the perspective of your being overstimulated/overwhelmed at the time? That you can't "filter" when you're upset and so you need a bit of time for 'filtering'? Because I suspect that you can't be quiet AND sit there an hold his hand to reassure him that you are just thinking, right?<br><br>
I also agree that this probably reflects more his family of origin than your specific behavior. It may take him time to realize that being quiet for a few moments to regroup is NOT the same as shutting someone out. Dh and I get into fights occasionally because his family has passive aggressive tendencies. Mine doesn't. So, if he asks something and I'm distracted or don't answer with enthusiasm, he immediately leaps to looking for hidden messages. This isn't about my answer, it's about HIS looking for other messages.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,405 Posts
get this book<br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSeven-Principles-Making-Marriage-Work%2Fdp%2F0609805797" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Principl.../dp/0609805797</a><br><br>
There's a whole section about how we get "flooded" with emotions when we fight and that people need to get calm if they are going to break the fighting cycle. I wish all the time that I'd found this book before it was too late for my marriage
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,997 Posts
Ha! what timing. DP and I had an argument last night and he sounds a lot like you <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> To be fair, he told me early in our dating life that he was like that, so I can't really complain, but MAN does it drive me NUTS in an argument! I'm not "emotionally needy", but I work through my feelings by talking and almost without fail, as soon as I start feeling like we're getting somewhere, he decides it's time for him to walk away. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/banghead.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banghead"><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LynnS6</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11598088"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I was also going to suggest a time limit. How long does it usually take for you to calm down?<br><br>
I would also make sure that AFTER you've calmed down that YOU are the one to go to him and bring it back up again.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Yes that.<br><br>
What makes it work, for us, is that he always comes back later (sometimes the next day) and we have a calm discussion about whatever the issue was/is. Some of the best conversations we've had about our relationship have come the day after a big argument. It's one of the things I love about him, that ability to sort things out, de-escalate, and come back with a fresh perspective.<br><br>
The follow-up is crucial, though. If you walk away, regroup and then act as if everything is fine, it can leave the other person feeling like they've been permanently "shelved", which sucks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,446 Posts
In my marriage, the situation is flipped around. Dh clams up and it makes me insane and afraid. The longer he clams up, the more fearful I get. And sometimes I will come after him trying to force him to talk because I amd *so scared* that he hates me and is going to leave me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
If he said something like the quote below, that would be tremendously helpful for me. I think you should say something similar.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">if, during a fight, you need to take a "time out to think about things" then simply tell him so. simply say "i need to take a bit of time now to be quiet and reflect on things. this is not "silent treatment" but an opportunity for me to get my bearings so that we can communicate more effectively."</td>
</tr></table></div>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,233 Posts
this thread has really made me think. I don't have any advice for you - but I"ve realised that I, too, have 'quite a mouth on me' during fights, and I really could do with just walking away for a period, sometimes. I'm going to try that. It only makes things worse to keep plugging away at something, and I often do it way past the point where DP is no longer even listening. For me, it takes SO much discipline (more than I have, to be honest) to say, lets deal with this later, bc i always want it out NOW, and I also work things through by talking about them (as PP's have said). So I say, hats off to you for knowing yourself well enough to do this, and being able to respect your relationship enough to not damage it by rash words.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,211 Posts
Come up with a stock response NOW that you can use then. Even if you're not exactly feeling it. something like "Honey, I love you. But I'm so angry right now I can't see straight. I need a timeout to figure out how I feel. I'm not shutting you out, I'm trying to figure out how to let you in. I will come back and talk to you about this as soon as I can. I love you. Thank you."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good stuff, thanks mamas <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I will take extra care to come back to the subject at hand and tell him kindly that I need thinking time.<br><br>
I understand his need to not be "shut out", he's got low-ish self esteem and depression and other emotional and mental disorders, but if I'm saying things that hurt his self esteem (thanks to my parents, I learned the most effective and most horrible hurtful things to say to your loved ones and they come out if I don't get a chance to filter my mouth, even though I don't mean them), I think that is worse the inner dialog stuff I need to work through.<br><br>
I really appreciate the feedback! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,646 Posts
We have a similar dynamic over here. Dh can't stand to be shut out when I'm in a fury and need to take a break. He can't stand the unknown and the anxiety. I tell him I need to take a break to calm down, but don't worry, I'm not going to leave him or whatever [insert catastrophe here]. Like you, I'm working on that filter, and calming to get perspective. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,792 Posts
DH and I had a discussion that went south like that once and he clammed up for over an hour. I freaked. I had no idea what he was thinking, wasn't even sure what he was upset about (if it was me specifically or our general life situation), and within half an hour I was convinced he was going to ask for a divorce. I ended up having a panic attack and puking three times. And in the end, it wasn't about me at all. He was upset about work.<br><br>
We had a good talk after that about what we could both have done to handle that better. The basic agreement is that if he needs time to think, he say so, but throw a reassurance in there. He knows now to go to what he thought was the wacky wild side and tell me straight out that he's not thinking about divorce. If he can verbalize it, telling me what he's upset about -- just a quick nutshell, "work," "general stress," "you," etc. -- so I have some kind of clue would be good, too.<br><br>
And on my end, I can go for a walk. One of us needs to not be around the other when there's reflection time needed. It's just too hard. Too emotionally fraught, too tense. If I'm there, I have a hard time stopping myself from interrupting to ask him for his thoughts, his feelings, how much longer he needs. That's my insecurity, not his doing, so removing myself from the situation for an hour or so and getting some exercise to keep all that adrenalin in check is a healthier choice than staying home and freaking out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,085 Posts
<b>sarah</b>, i am in your shoes right now <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> and i am going for a walk. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">: thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,188 Posts
I used to be the type to use the silent treatment in the beginning of our marriage. That started to go away over the years. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Now when we argue (and he is very verbal and loud during arguments) I speak up, yell back and I say what is on my mind. A lot of the time it helps him to see what he is saying is not right and he sees it from my point of view a lot quicker. I got tired of being the weak one that walked away and sulked in a corner somewhere (not saying you do that <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> ) so I changed. I think most of the reason I changed is because the way my husband argues rubbed off on me. But it has helped us a little more to argue AT one another during the argument than for me to walk off and shut down. When I used to do that then I would tend to hide how I was really feeling and never say what I wanted to say.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
684 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>rubelin</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11600837"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">get this book<br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSeven-Principles-Making-Marriage-Work%2Fdp%2F0609805797" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Principl.../dp/0609805797</a><br><br>
There's a whole section about how we get "flooded" with emotions when we fight and that people need to get calm if they are going to break the fighting cycle. I wish all the time that I'd found this book before it was too late for my marriage</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">: that is an amazing book
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,999 Posts
Yes. I would suggest giving a specific timeline at that exact moment.<br><br>
"I'm not shutting you out. I need a break NOW before things go really bad. I am angry. I love you. I know if feels wrong to you, but what we do now doesn't work so keeping doing is just dumb. I'll collect my thoughts and be better to talk to in 'X amount of time'."<br><br>
That should about cover all the bases.<br><br>
I take a break because my DH needs it. I think fast. I think even faster when I'm "in the moment." I can look at something and break it down 20 different ways, and present them all. I yell. I am relentless and logical. I'm passionate.<br><br>
I'm overwhelming, and it really isn't fair.<br><br>
I need to think about what I am going to say, and say it shortly. Otherwise nothing will come of it. I also have to keep to one or two subjects in any span of time - like a month or more. Anything more than that just means NOTHING will happen.<br><br>
I cannot tell you how difficult it was to start doing this. But it is better and more peaceful and it actually works. Which is SO much better than something that feels more natural and doesn't work.<br><br>
(please do not get the idea that I am perfect at this. The urge to yell at him is overwhelming, and give him 12 different ways of seeing what I'm saying with 30 different examples to back it up because it seems like he doesn't understand.)
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top